Why Jeff Simmons Is Probably Staying

Posted by Iannucci | 10/24/2006 | 1 comments »
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Can we just have a moment of respect for the late Paul Dana? The intellectual effort this man had to put forth into bringing Ethanol into such a prominent role in the IRL is truly mind-boggling.

I was scanning the wires and found this Press Release for an appearance in North Carolina by “Rayhal Letterman” (sic) driver Jeff Simmons. As you know, Simmons inherited not just the #17 Ethanol car from Dana but also all the required discussions of Ethanol that accompanies that unique ride.

Jeff will be at Novozymes, proud sponsor of the Rayhal Letterman/EPIC team, to discuss his career in racing, the Series’ transition to ethanol and address performance issues.

The Indy Car series has pledged their commitment to alternative fuels by transitioning the league cars to ethanol by 2007. Novozymes’ enzymes and process technology are key to the production of economically viable ethanol both from starch and biomass.

Today it is cheaper and easier to produce ethanol from corn compared to biomass. Despite the fact that biomass feedstocks (agricultural waste such as corn stover, wheat straw or wood chips) are more abundant and not part of the nation’s food chain, it is still a challenge to cost-effectively collect these raw materials, and the processing cost is significantly higher. Over time and through the use of Novozymes technology, processing cost for biomass has decreased and will continue to decrease, making ethanol from biomass competitive with ethanol from corn. The larger the investment and the greater the potential for profitable business models, the faster economically-viable ethanol derived from biomass will be achieved.
Uh, OK. My mind is boggled.

Remember when drivers used to be drivers and not biochemists? Remember when PR appearances meant chatting up girls to bring their friends? No wonder Simmons was having trouble early last year – he was probably staying up late studying research papers.

As a parallel: do you think Uncle Sam has brushed up on tobacco litigation, or Sebastian Bourdais (his sponsor is McDonald’s) is ready to discuss trans fats? Just asking.

If Simmons has invested himself to the point of being able to discuss...this...as well as improve his driving performance, then I'm guessing he's still the guy for the job.


  1. Anonymous // October 24, 2006 10:34 AM  

    He needs to be in that car next year... hell of a guy....